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Jump Rhythm Jazz Project to Present 'Mad-Sad-Glad' Dances

June 29-30 concerts to feature works by Billy Siegenfeld, Jeff Hancock and Kevin Durnbaugh

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June 11, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Under the artistic direction of the 2011 Dance Chicago Choreographer of the Year Billy Siegenfeld, the Emmy Award-winning Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (JRJP) returns this summer to the Northwestern University stage for two evenings of premieres.

Presented as part of the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University’s 2012 SummerStage season, the group will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, June 29, and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. Refreshments and a post-show discussion with the choreographers and JRJP ensemble members will follow both performances.

Featuring the entire JRJP ensemble, this groundbreaking two-performance-only event will include four premieres by Northwestern faculty member Siegenfeld, guest choreographer Jeff Hancock and JRJP ensemble member Kevin Durnbaugh, as well as two Jump Rhythm Jazz Project critical and audience favorites. 

“In the six dances, audiences will see six different worlds,” said Siegenfeld, a School of Communication dance professor. “We don’t want to just be in a joyful, happy, laughing world. It’s good to experience a wide range of reactions and sensations. The dances we present will run the full emotional spectrum.”

Receiving its Chicago area premiere, Siegenfeld’s “Why Gershwin?” is an homage to madcap movie comedies, with a love story between a self-inflated male and a cool femme who adores him, occasionally. Also receiving its Chicago area premiere is Siegenfeld’s “There Never Was a War that Was Not Inward,” in which friends on a picnic share pleasant memories that turn dark as they recollect a trauma they all endured.

The evening will include a world premiere of JRJP company member and Be the Groove associate artistic director Kevin Durnbaugh’s “Maybe? No. Yes!” The piece is a quirky exploration of how music can empower some while unsettling others.

Jeff Hancock, River North Dance Chicago founding member and School of Communication dance professor, will present the world premiere of his “My Undecided Shadow,” a dance dialogue between him and Siegenfeld interwoven by moments of doubt, possibility and acceptance.

Rounding out the program are two JRJP audience and critical favorites, with choreography and vocal arrangements by Siegenfeld -- “god of dirt,” a celebration of an earth-honoring community and “The Sumptuous Screech of Simplicity,” which deconstructs and then reconstructs one of rock music’s iconic hits, “It’s Your Thing” by the Isley Brothers.

“I like to say that we inhabit the ‘mad-sad-glad’ of storytelling,” said Siegenfeld. “We try to hit the universal emotions that human beings occupy themselves with and build stories around a particular point of view.”

Single tickets are $5 to $25 and group discounts are available. Tickets and SummerStage 2012 subscriptions are available through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at www.tic.northwestern.edu.